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Opinions of Friday, 27 December 2013

Columnist: Okofo-Dartey, Samuel

The paradox: more intellectuals, more poverty

After a close and careful observation, I have come to the conclusion that the more intellectuals there are in this country, the more impoverished most of the masses are. Who says education is not good? But you see in this part of the ‘black’ continent, the light that literacy brings seems to have minimal positive impact.
Have you ever wondered why despite our long root of formal education, the country still creeps into gray economic limbo? Perhaps, I would not be wrong in positing that the bane of western education on the Ghanaian psyche is that most of the intellectualised minds have been skewed towards selfish tendencies aimed at looting our common wealth at all cost.
You may disagree with me but is it not also true that most of our graduates after school are desperate to amass wealth to the extent that they refuse postings to areas that they perceive do have minimal monetary rewards? Even in most cases, transfers are perceived to be punishment instead of a necessity needed for national cohesion and development. The desperate self-seeking desire to make money simply overrides the need to collectively build a nation of shared wealth.
That is why a near nobody who assumes prominent public or political office within the shortest period of time transmogrifies into living large like a tsar. State institutions and properties are run like personal possessions hence people’s insatiable desire to loot, create and share state funds with wee concern for the poor majority.
Ghana is never a poor country; it is the intellectuals who are ruining the country. And political elites are the worst culprits. Some of them are docile and dormant in their lofty intellectual credentials to the extent that instead of reasoning us out of our predicaments, they rather work feverishly to create their own economic empires.
Sadly, everything in Ghana has been reduced to partisan politics. Even our education system has been levelled to a political football. National policies are skewed towards political advantages. Those who are constructively critical of the government are draped with political colours and bitterly bastardised. Therefore, those with a clear and unbiased craven to join the national development drive have driven themselves into oblivion.
As a result, loud mouths who are intellectually recessive and innately selfish have wormed themselves into governance. Party thugs and foot soldiers now determine who must be entrusted with the national purse. No apologies to anyone. Mediocrity now holds sway over the country. Roads are constructed and in no time are eroded and pot holed. We wait for illegal miners to destroy our water bodies before we become conscious of our deliberate inertness. The national budget without donor support seems hollow and economically sterile.
Now our political intellectuals are so wise that we fall on experts from U.S.A. to determine the causes of fires ravaging certain portions of the country although the causes and solutions are right close to our noses. Once more, our political intellectuals are so imbued with wisdom to the extent that after assuming office they delight to discontinue or rename policies engineered by their predecessors.
No wonder the affordable housing units started by the erstwhile NPP administration have been left to rot and fully occupied by criminals and migrants. Pathetically, some of these homeless criminals and migrants rent out these units to persons of suspicious characters. A visit to those housing units at Ayigya which are close to the KNUST police station will confirm my point.
By the way, it is an open secret that most of our institutions are reeking of corruption and bribery. It is now more of a habit and practice. Civil and public servants who are close to retirement are reducing their ages just because they cannot come to terms with the fact that their retirements are due. I know of some headmasters who have deliberately reduced their ages all because two years to their retirement, they assumed office.
What then is the way forward? Formal education is good as it has the indubitable ability to save us from savagery. We must brush aside our parochial political leanings and forge a governance of developmental continuity. At any rate, can we boast of a common national development plan just like the one Kwame Nkrumah evolved?
May we not use our superior academic intellects to deprive the common man of his due otherwise he may morph into a brutish beast we cannot contain. Just as some Ghanaians get out of the shores of Ghana and flourish in foreign lands, why can’t we create similar conducive conditions here for others to eat the good of this land? Ghanaians deserve the best, hence, our intellectuals must buck up.